In my angsty high school grief in 2017, I explored the nooks and crannies of my city that embodied the state of limbo I felt in my soul. The eclectic spoke to me as I acted without regard for imaginary futures and instead felt grounded in the odd flux between a rich but ultimately irrelevant past and an electrifying present. As I find myself facing a similar sense of instability this semester, I return to the curiosities of Houston, Texas and share them with others currently bursting with wanderlust.
This week, the Thresher sat down with Chabrielle Allen (Hanszen College ’20), an alumna who earned her Bachelor of Arts in religion with a focus on culture and society in August. Currently living in her hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, Allen spoke about her artistic journey during her time at Rice, the intersection of technology and art and the importance of diverse representation in the art world.
Now on display in Fondren Library, Houston Asian American Archive’s “Faces in the Pandemic” exhibit explores Asian American experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic through dynamic visual art, fostering reflection and discussion on relevant topics of racism, isolation, history and intersectionality. The exhibit explores a history of Asian American discrimination from the early 1800s to today and prompts the viewer to think about what this moment will look like in our collective history.
Imagine you’re me in 2011. Ouch. Ouch ouch. Wait fuck. That hurts. Is that the nascent depression or the repressed sexuality? Okay, don’t imagine you’re me in 2011. Instead, picture a young, swoopy haired tween sitting at the desk under their bunk bed and churning out some homework for Mrs. Parker’s seventh period English. A young Jacob is listening to their favorite Pandora station: “Fall For You” radio, based off the one-hit wonder power ballad by Secondhand Serenade. Suddenly, the mire of dad rock and pop punk is cut through by a warbly synthetic lead and bandpassed vocals before breaking down into an R&B-inspired pop verse. I liked the song almost immediately. It was “Notions” by The Ready Set.
Aug. 24 was the 10th anniversary of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” her generation-defining pop album. She then delivered her first child on Aug. 26 after an engagement with Orlando Bloom last year, and two days later, dropped her sixth studio album, “Smile.” Her latest album was disappointing, nothing like the Katy Perry you know, and only the third most significant part of her week.
For our first installment of Black Art at Rice, we sat down with Preston Branton, a third year architecture undergraduate student who creates visual art, working mostly with charcoal and graphite drawings as well as mixed media collage. Branton spoke on his transition to making more personal art, how he stays inspired, and the role played by animation in imagining a better world. His work can be found on his Instagram art page, @br.u.tal.
Despite the current situation with COVID-19, there are still a plethora of places for Rice students to explore the arts culture of Houston both on and outside of campus while maintaining the community’s safety and health. Use this guide of artistic hotspots offering virtual interaction options as a starting point for safely exploring Houston’s vibrant art scene.
Now that school is back in session, “servery fatigue,” or that feeling you get after your umpteenth piece of water/safety/athlete chicken and rice, is sure to follow. Never fear, because the Thresher has a starter list for places to explore around the local area.
While the pandemic is keeping us all inside, it’s not stopping us from keeping up with our to-read lists. With small businesses severely impacted by financial hardships brought on by public health and safety necessities, what better way to support Houston’s literary community than by cozying up with a brand new book purchased from local, independent bookstores?
“The album as a whole speaks to the various manifestations of trust that come with love... The best aspects of “Recover” can be seen as subdued elements of the band’s prior albums, and it’s Xayalith and Powers's growth and confidence that can explain the new direction.”
“I had the opportunity to speak with [Deborah D.E.E.P] Mouton about her process of creating a community poem, the augmentation of the artwork’s message by our present moment in history and our collective responsibility to actively create that better future — rather than sit idly by and wait for its announcement.”
Just as Rice students have found new ways to cope amid the general chaos, our professors have found themselves in the same unprecedented moment in history finding ways to muscle through their daily tasks: conducting research, teaching courses and attending to any children in need of attention.
I can’t drive to see my friends. I watched “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” earlier this week. I am living in the same house as my mother. My entire life feels like a bad rerun of my junior high years right now, so imagine my excitement when I discovered a more positive relic of my past: the return of indie garage rock outfit The Strokes after a seven year hiatus. “The New Abnormal” and its callbacks to early 2000s garage rock sound like they belong on a cassette mixtape while still managing to seem fresh. The album will delight listeners, even if they are coping with the pandemic marginally better than myself.
I went to my first concert in college, first semester freshman year in September 2016. My high school friend Eric Shi came with me to see James Blake downtown at the House of Blues. There, under lights filled with haze and concertgoers way older than us, we listened to Moses Sumney over the chatter of the crowd. Eventually, the lights dimmed, and Blake took the stage. When the bass hit on “Limit to Your Love,” I knew I was hooked for a lifetime.
For our lovely readers, you may know that “The Weekly Scene” is a regular fixture of the Thresher’s print arts and entertainment section that promotes local arts events both on campus and throughout Houston. However, due to campus and citywide restrictions on public gatherings amid the COVID-19 outbreak and our inability to print issues for the remainder of the semester, the Weekly Scene is sadly discontinued at the moment. Thus, to fill the gap in my heart left by my beloved little column, I’d like to present the Weekly Screen: a short list of TV programs, movies and videos to check out from the socially-distanced comfort of your home.
You know how a couple months ago I came out here to publicly shame the Academy for not sharing my impeccable taste in film? Over the past few years I’ve come out on the record on important cultural milestones, such as the second season of Narcos and this one boring movie that the Thresher got free passes to. But since I’m graduating, I thought I’d show my hand before I go with this confession: I love horrible, cheesy movies. Like, a lot.